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MSPs back stiffer controls on adults

ALL organisations that allow adults access to children, including local voluntary groups, may be told to comply with child protection proposals. Such a move could make their activities intolerably complicated and damage the recruitment of leaders.

Members of the Scottish Parliament's education, culture and sport committee have backed outline plans to toughen child protection legislation, despite reservations over how it would work in practice.

After taking oral and written evidence over the past two months, MSPs say they want to end an irregularity in the Protection of Children (Scotland) Bill which would create a two-tier system. As it stands the Scottish Executive's proposals would only place a statutory duty on "regulated organisations". Many youth and sports groups would not be covered.

MSPs argue: "It is clear that the important issue was whether or not someone had unsupervised access to children, irrespective of whether the organisation for whom they work is regulated or unregulated," they state.

They accept their recommendation to ministers will place extra pressures on small voluntary organisations but propose a panel of experts to advise them on aspects such as employment law.

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